From Albuquerque, take I-25 south to exit 191. Go east on Camino del Llano/NM-548. At the first light turn left onto Main St./NM-314. After about a mile, take a right at a gas station onto Reinken Avenue/NM-309. On the east side of the river take a right onto NM-47 S/NM-6 S. Turn left on North Navajo road which is not marked, but is nearly two miles from the previous intersection. If you miss it, you can take South Navajo Road which is another 3.2 miles down the road and has a sign saying "forest access 19 miles". Either way, you end up taking the roads to a "T" intersection with Trigo Springs Rd. which has no markings. Drive north on Trigo Springs past a bunch of huge cows and bulls that you should avoid because of their aggressive behavior. After three or four watering holes in the middle of the road (you can avoid these with bypasses on the eastern side of the road), take a right onto another unmarked road that forks just before hitting Trigo Springs Rd. (when traveling west on it). This road is pretty rocky and slow-going all the way to the trailhead. It crosses the forest boundary at an unlocked green gate you can drive through. Take a left at the fork in the middle of John F. Kennedy campground and the trail begins at the brown gate.
Lower Canyon Section: 2 miles long 1,100’ elevation gain
Follow the trail east through the mouth of the canyon. The trail and dry creek bed tend to get confusing in this area, but as long as you continue up the canyon you’ll eventually find your way back to the trail. Beware of bees around flower beds in this area during the spring and summer. At points the trail is not well-maintained and the vegetation crowds the trail, making it hard to get through. After about two miles you will see a large cave right before a tall cliff face on the south side of the canyon, which means you’re getting close to the spring. The spring, which is a north and southward bend (in the canyon) away from the cave, is where the hiking begins to get tough.
Upper Canyon Section: 2 miles long 1,300’ elevation gain
Around the spring the angle of ascent becomes steep and the rocks become loose and hard to navigate through. Above the spring, stay left at the fork in the trail. For about half a mile, it is a nonstop semi-scramble up to the shelf that descends from the crest. This section is hardly maintained as well, and for a good stretch before the upper canyon, bushes (some thorny) strangle the trail. Once into the forested part of the canyon, the trail becomes gently sloping for most of the way. This area can become extremely humid and dehydrating so take at least 2-3 liters of water with you. When nearing the crest the trail regains its steep incline and retains it for 1,500’ or so.
Manzano Crest Section: .5 miles long 600’ elevation gain
At the crest is a fence and before it is the intersection with the Manzano Crest Trail (No. 170), which meanders along the entirety of the Manzano Mountains. At this crossing, take a left (go northwest) staying on the left side of the fence and continue up the 8-12 switchbacks on the southern face of Osha Peak. At the junction with Osha Trail (No. 100), take a right off the trail into the forest away from Osha Trail. Go left, around a patch of oak brush located a couple hundred feet in the woods. A short and stout cairn marks the summit.
Basic gear for most hikes. The most important thing is water (at least 2-3 liters per person). A machete may help in some sections.
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